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Transcript of It's Okay if You're not Okay podcast Episode 05 10/28/2019

Keith: I'm not going to remember the order very well, probably when we're live.

Renee: Oh my gosh. You're doing your best job. I'm going to use all the time. [Laughter] Oh, Josh, you're really doing the best most you can. [Laughter].

Keith: Okay. Are we okay? Can we start?

Josh and Renee: It's okay if you're not okay! [Laughter].

All: Welcome friends. Thanks for joining us for another episode. I'm Keith. I'm Josh. I am Renee and it's okay if you're not okay.

Keith: Today we are talking about our favorite influencers, so specific individuals who influenced us personally or the field of mental health and Josh kick us off.

Josh: So, um, in my experience over the years of learning about different, um, mental health professionals, I have really thought about this question and um, I think the hip thing to say would be Brené Brown.

Renee: Not fair. That's what I was going to say.

Josh: But, I am not going to say Brené Brown. I love Brené Brown and I love her work on shame. The person that influenced me the most in my work would be Marsha Linehan. In the sense... The creator of dialectical behavior therapy. She took a, a turn in our profession with people with a diagnosis that were told that there was no hope for them. And she came up with a strategy and skills through, um, the use of mindfulness and emotion regulation that changed the way we do therapy. There are, I would say right now, and people may argue with me about it, there's kind of two, two ways you can go. You can kind of go old school talk therapy or skills-based talk or therapy. And the, the number one skills based right now would be DBT, dialectical behavior therapy. And so that as far as my base is the most influential person and those skills are the skills that I use in my everyday life, not just, um, for when I worked with clients, direct care, but I use them for myself. We've taught my kids those skills. Um, my wife is a certified DBT therapist working on getting her RO DBT, which is radically open DBT certification. So it's a, it's a big influence in our house just in general. So, and it's, um, if anybody doesn't know and Renee chime in, if you can help me,, this is it's for a population of folks that, um, deal with suicidal ideation and self-harm behaviors on a constant basis. And it teaches people to regulate emotion so then they can, um, think a little bit more clearly so they don't, they choose to do something else other than harm themselves.

Keith: And how do you, so like, so that you mentioned that this is something you applied to everyday life, you've talked about it and your family. So how do you then, like what part of those do you apply to your everyday life?

Renee: Yeah, I know I can I jump in? Is that okay? I, so the, the mindfulness piece, um, for me I think takes a, I'm a huge, plays a huge role in my life when I talk about a skill set of the sphere of control. And I have to acknowledge my sphere of control. One because I like to think I can control things that I can't. I like doing that a lot. Um, and it's a huge reality check for myself, but two, I also let my sphere of control, um, get a little overwhelmed and packed sometimes. And so I need to also recognize too that while I am in control of it, I can choose to delegate it. Um, so again, maybe not what I would typically walk somebody through in a therapy session as a skill. But that sphere of control is huge for me personally.

Keith: I think I know what you mean, but I'm not 100% sure I know what you mean. So can you give me an example of like something you would have in your sphere of control and then you would delegate to somebody else?

Renee: Right. So in my sphere of control or my thoughts, feelings and behaviors, right? Pretty fundamental things that are going to live there. Um, your thoughts, feelings and behaviors probably will never enter my sphere of control. I have to understand that my thoughts, what things that are in my spirit of control might affect you. And just being a conscientious person, I would potentially want to speak or behave differently, but I cannot control your thoughts, feelings or behaviors. Can't do it. My sphere of control is my stuff.

Keith: I think that's really helpful, right? I mean I'm just thinking just recently had some really difficult conversations with some friends and the response from those friends was uh, not as full of grace as I would've hoped. And I found myself going into the phase of trying to analyze all the pieces of how I communicated my thoughts and feelings and trying to figure out what I could've done better there. And it's been a process for me to realize that I can't control how they respond in the midst of that.

Renee: Right. And through being open to reciprocal relationships, you might want to, for the people that you care about and love in a platonic, non platonic, professional, nonprofessional way, change your feelings and behaviors because you know how that person might respond, but also, right, it's not your responsibility.

Keith: Right. And so I think that's where it can be tough for me to find the right balance because Clifton strengths, my number one strength is individualization. So like I'm hyper sensitive to how every person, uh, like what things they bring to the table, how they interact with other people. And so I think, Oh man, I didn't customize the exact sentence in the right way for this one individual person.

Josh: That's exhausting. Yes. And think about it this way. So in DBT we would, if I you to do something, I would formulate my sentence to get my needs met through that thing. I can do it effectively or ineffectively. So if I needed to have you edit...

Keith: edit a guide.

Josh: a guide. There's two ways I can, I can to do this is I could say, Keith, do this.

Keith: I just spent like the last few hours editing a guide for Josh, for Josh's team, for Kate. Kate, who's quietly right in the corner.

Josh: She's doing the best she can. state to you, even though I could say Keith, do this for me. Right. And then he would have a reaction. Or I could say, Keith, we have this document and we really need to get done. It's really important. It's really important to me, Kate and the team that this, this document gets done. I know it's short notice, but it'd be, I'd really appreciate if, if you could just take a look at it. Alright. That's two different ways and you're going to react to that. But I've shaped you by the way that I've asked you either way, right? So you can react differently on each one. And that's what one of the basis of, of DBT does is to help shape others by what, how we ask questions.

Renee: And still recognize too that we can do all of that with the best intentions possible and the forethought enough. And your response is still your response.

Josh: Yeah. You could still say no to that request. Even I ask it and then...

Renee: Or throw a tantrum, again, not my sphere of control.

Josh: So the best, one of the best pieces of, of dialectical behavior therapy that I love the best are states of mind. So knowing that we have a rational mind and emotional mind and they overlap into wise mind and there's lots of cool things that happen in rational mind and lots of cool things that happen in an emotional mind. But when we want to make effective decisions, we work on those and putting those into wise mind. So that's one of my favorite spots cause that's where I really learned cause as somebody that's in recovery, I can spend a lot of time in emotional mind and I can spend a lot of time in rational mind and making different decisions in that way. Mainly in emotional mind because it's impulsive. So once I learned... I learned how to do it years before, but it wasn't called states of mind.

Renee: Sure. Um, it was called a Venn diagram.

Josh: So that's one of my favorite pieces of that. And then also mindfulness

Renee: Radical acceptance.

Josh: Radical acceptance. Ah, distressed tolerance. Tip chemistry. Ah, I love tip chemistry. Alright.

Renee: And Josh take it away.

Josh: Yup. Sorry Renee, you're doing the best you can sometimes

Keith: Kate, I know you do presentations or um, around self care. Do you use aspects of mindfulness in the midst of that?

Kate: I intertwined it into every presentation that I do because exactly what they're saying earlier. I think that, uh, self regulation, emotional regulation, stress reduction, that effects how we make decisions across the board. And so as I'm talking about mental health, mental wellness, to me that has to be intertwined is how can we, in the heightened states that we're at make the best decision we can in that moment, right? Even if that means that a year from now you look back and you go, Oh, I probably wasn't the best decision. It was the best one that you can make in that moment. And so having the skills in place to do that and to go home and process through, through mindfulness. And we talk about, you know, meditation being more than just sitting in a dark room and being quiet, but how it can just be going out and connecting with the mind and body in nature or through spirituality or whatever that is for you. And so yeah, every presentation I do, we bring that in.

Keith: Yeah, that is a, a good segue to what my answer to this question would be as far as the most influential for, um, for me in, in the mental health. And so, um, for me really, I have a background in the spirituality side of things having been a pastor but the in-depth mental health arena, it's new. And so really some of the most influential things I've done is just the relationships I've been making here at the mental health center and being engaged in different campaigns in our community as far as like Zero Reasons Why, End the Trend with teen vaping, uh, things like that have taught me a lot of things: the language to use, um, and uh, the ways to talk about mental health and mental illness and all the, all the pieces around that. But, um, what's been helpful for me having the background in the spirituality side of things has been being able to merge some of those and to thinking about being able to very easily make the transition that's often there where there's a dichotomy between physical health and mental health and just seeing how this whole health and we have to be healthy physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally.

Kate: Yeah. It goes back to that wellness wheel and there are thinkers like eight or nine different components on that. And it's the idea if that one of those are off, the whole wheel is off. And so the importance of having, you know, positive wellness in all of those categories in order to be your best self. And so I think that plays into exactly what you're saying.

Keith: Yeah. I, um, uh, as a reminder, the views and opinions expressed in this podcast do not necessarily represent those of Johnson County Mental Health Center or Johnson County Government. Um, some of the, some of individuals who have been most influential to me, or at least the, like I'm admiring their work. Um, I hate to mention Rob bell and every single episode, but I feel like that might happen. And then, uh, Richard

Renee: Challenge accepted!

Josh: You're doing the best you can.

Keith: Uh, Richard Rohr is another one. So thinking about to like, um, like I tend to process things analytically a lot. And so even though I say I have a background in spirituality, I'm not, I don't have a background... Like I'm not a touchy feely like a, you know, I'm not the guy in the desert for 40 years doing meditations all the time. Like that's, that's not me. I process things analytically. And so one of the reasons I like folks like Richard Rohr or others is because they kind of bring me into a state that's not my natural state or thinking about things in ways that are not my natural state. And I always find health in that in different, different perspectives on reality and different perspectives on life and relationships. And you know, we've had conversations on this, this podcast, different ways of looking at how people make decisions and in different things like those conversations are helpful to me to help me better understand this thing we call life.

Renee: Well, I think it's one of the reasons why you are a really pivotal part in this specific podcast too, is you don't have the history, the education, all that stuff that Kate and Josh and myself bring to the table here. And so there are times where your perspective, it's quite refreshing because I get in tunnel vision, I get locked in to what I know and I really truly appreciate...You even seek out the other side of the coin. I'm like, Nope, I'm good my way. Awesome. Sphere of control right here.

Keith: I really just do this podcast to hear you guys compliment me all the time.

Renee: Challenge, not accepted.

Keith: Kate, who's your, who's your most influential person?

Kate: Um, well I'm noncommittal, so I picked two. Um, So back to Josh is Josh. Josh. His earlier comments is that, um, I'm going to be hip and say Brené Brown from a, um, broad category because I feel that she, her perspectives are always changing, especially her work on vulnerability and courage have been eye-opening. Now. It's not the easiest for me personally to apply, but it's a process and I appreciate the fact that she has made, um, her material down to earth. Anyone reading it can feel the emotion behind it as you're learning. And truly, at least in my personal opinion, feel like they're not alone and it's been made accessible. So again, it's through books or audio books or Netflix. For me, I'm in a moment where I'm like, I just, I can't pick up another book, but I'm willing to sit there while I'm working and listen to something. I know I still have her information, so I'm going to be hip and say Brené Brown. Um, but on a

Keith: Pause, because I want to talk, I want to say something about Brené Brown first before you jump on the next one. So I think one of the great things about Brené Brown, in addition to the way that she liked the actual content of her work, is that the way that she can communicate that way, communicate that in ways that's accessible, right? Because she has research, academic scholar stuff behind, but when she's presenting, anybody can listen to understand what she's saying.

Josh: And she does it through storytelling in that relatable. Exactly. That's what makes her who she is, is that she can relate to, um, the billion dollar guy that she's doing the, the billion dollar con consulting with and me listening to her on a Ted talk on YouTube, like the same, she's not changing her language for either those audiences.

Kate: Well then anyone can pick up a textbook and learn the ed, the education and science behind things. But there not always the connection and how this can actually impact everyday life. And that's what I appreciate about her storytelling is that I can see it play out and know, okay, on my hard days when maybe I'm not, I'm in that emotional state and not the a mindful rational state is that I can see from her work how this can look in life and I can start making some of those changes rather than having to guess based on a textbook that I picked up. Even though I love textbooks and I read it,

Renee: You're in the minority,

Josh: but I know her, I mean her research and work on shame, I mean is like, it's the number one thing that she, I mean she does great work on vulnerability and courage and that's great, but her research on shame and how that was brought to light as there's nobody else that's done that.

Keith: I haven't consumed as much of her content as, uh, probably a lot of our listeners.

Kate: I own every book if you ever want it.

Keith: One piece that actually...Thinking about storytelling. The one, one of the stories that she's told, you know, through it was through a video is an illustration of the difference between empathy and sympathy. And that's really short. But just like this idea about a person's down in a dark tunnel and empathy is going down and being with them, sympathy is staying up above the ladder and talking down to them, "At least...At least you have this," you know, and trying to make really in some ways yourself feel better in a way than than that person. So I actually mentally visualize that situation sometimes when I'm in the midst of conversation, when I'm aspiring to be empathetic, making sure that the words that I'm about to say come out of my mouth is down in the hole with the person and not above. So it's just a, it's an actual visualization that I can use and like sensor myself in a way to make sure I'm being empathetic and not sympathetic for a person.

Kate: Well, and it all plays into her work around vulnerability too, because in order to build that connection and to get down at that level and to really connect with someone, you have to connect with something inside of you, which requires vulnerability, right? Because that's uncomfortable. And so it, all, all of her stuff just plays together so well and yeah,

Keith: that reminds me of another, uh, spirituality person that I enjoy that I am ashamed I didn't bring up a minute ago is Henri Nouwen. He talks about being "a wounded healer." And often we have to be able to confess our own wounds in order to invite the other person into that relationship. And it just, it goes along so well with the idea that we have, we have to invite people into our own woundedness, um, in order to bring healing to both of us

Kate: and finding that unique balance, at least in my opinion, of not bringing them into that to be vulnerable and empathetic without making it about you. Because you still want to make sure it's about them because they're the one who's needing help. But finding a way to do it so that they know that they're not alone. It's a balance.

Keith: Yeah. Now when you use as an example, it's been awhile since I read him in this particular text, but he uses an example of like actually inviting someone to your house to the table. And there's a sense in which when you invite someone to your house, uh, that they are in the midst of your, like your everyday life and you're opening up part of your life to them that they would not see if they were not already at your house. Yeah. And it's not, you know, you take them to your bathroom or to your bedroom. It's more kitchen table. Right. And so he doesn't say that. That's my word.

Kate: I like that. I can visualize that.

Renee: You can go to the bathroom at my house. If you come over. It's all right.

Keith: If you invite me, "Keith, come over to my bathroom." Uh, I'm like what?

Josh: It's a glorious room.

Keith: So who's, who is your second person, Kate?

Kate: The second one, um, is cause I wanted to pick someone that I've never met. I obviously have never met Brené Brown. I probably never will even though I would definitely fangirl over that opportunity. Um, but I chose um, Tim DeWeese, our director and Susan Rome, our deputy director, because I feel that within their roles being so high up, it's really easy to lose track of what the community needs and how to advocate for people in the community when you're up against some of that business corporate perspective that you get when money's at stake. And I have truly appreciated, because I've only been here a little over a year, so it's still new to me and I have appreciated Tim and Susan always advocating for our staff, for the mental health of the community. Always letting us try new things like this podcast and finding new ways to get information out and to really live what they're working. Like, I don't feel that after five o'clock they don't believe in what they're doing from eight to five. They live it out every day, and so I picked them as well just because I feel that a lot of the ways that we're able to support our community is a special thing some testament to the hard work that they're doing and recognizing that that is a really uncomfortable position to be in when you're balancing the needs versus the administrative side. It's I, as someone who's not an admin, I mean I recognize that. That's difficult, so I went with both.

Renee: They're great people. Absolutely. Great people. Follow them on Twitter, follow them on Instagram.

Josh: ditto. Now, Renee, you've got to follow that

Renee: Easy. Ditto. [all laughter] Tim and Susan are amazing. Is it really my turn or are we ,can talk about, I don't know. We can talk about that.

Josh: Well, I mean, okay look, lets talk about them for a second. Yes, Kate, you are correct. They are fantastic. We were really lucky to be at a, at a, in a system of care that allows us to do some of the things that we get to do and, and they're the reasons that we get to do that. So that's pretty fantastic.

Renee: And they live out just as really great human beings, the, the philosophical belief that we can all learn, change and grow. I'm really inspired by that on a daily basis because it's really hard to learn, change and grow sometimes and to own that.

Josh: And they allowed me to work here. I mean I made it past the six months, so I mean they could've stepped in. I mean that's pretty fantastic

Kate: and I appreciate to the strength based approach that they're really working to incorporate. And with every touch that we have with people and they're embracing prevention through recovery, they're embracing all ages with the new, I don't want to misspeak for it. The new program with infants.

Renee: ABC,

Kate: ABC. So it's just been really inspiring to me to see when funding isn't always what we hope it can be. We're still seeing so much growth and what we're able to do thanks to their support. So, yeah.

Josh: Great leadership.

Keith: You can follow, our director Tim DeWeese on pretty much any platform at @MNHDirector . Renee, who's your favorite person?

Renee: Don't, don't forget to follow Susan too.

Keith: She's on Twitter @MNHdepdirector. There you go.

Renee: Okay. My, my, my person, um, is a professor from the university that I got my master's degree at and I took three classes from this professor not knowing that all three would be taught by him and not knowing that I would absolutely enjoy his teachings and his, his personality so much. Um, he taught me probably what I know the most about family therapy and that is really powerful to me. So I loved the family system and I had been able to apply that over the past 15 years of my career, whether it be in like my own family system, um, whether it be a family system that I'm working with, maybe a team or "family system" here at work. So just really powerful stuff there. I think the one thing that I mean blew my mind. I'll never forget the day that I was sitting in his class and, um, it hit it the, I was overwhelmed. Um, I don't know what happened after that because I was so taken aback by learning that without context behavior is just behavior. And I didn't get it until he laid it. I mean, laid it out that a behavior without a supporting story, without a supporting scenario is just simply a behavior and we apply so much context to things and so much judgment to things that, um, shapes our opinions on behavior.

Kate: I had the goosebumps just hearing that.

Renee: Um, I, that is my goal for every podcast for you.

Josh: Oh, you're doing the best you can. That is a, that is a huge learning, I don't want to say curve on, that's not the right thing, but like when, once you understand that it is world changing.

Renee: It is. I mean, and I didn't get it. I had to, I mean, I was one of those like, you know, sitting in class like, well not making sense to me, doctor, Nope. Not happening. And then there was one example that just what was, um, right. And also recognizing too, how that's shaped me as a professional, um, and working with, with children and families, particularly for 12 years of my career. And then I've been here two years, I'm working with really the whole lifespan. Um, and recognizing that behaviors are just getting our needs met. Right. It's as simple as that. Um, and that's my challenge, right. To, to, to folks that are listening to folks in the room again and I, I invite disagreement or questions about that, but we behave to get our needs met and sometimes that behavior may not be pretty or effective. And that's, that's why I'm not a the fan of the word "manipulation."

Josh: Sure. Because yeah, yeah. Puts, um, such a judgmental context on people's behavior, right. When behavior is, like you said, just getting your needs met, whether it's effective or ineffective, whether it's falling down and throwing a fit or asking in in an effective way. Right? You only know what you know until you know something different.

Renee: And that's why, and especially in my work with, with kids, I've always tried to help people use the word like refrain from rewards and consequences and just talk about responses. That's right. I will respond to your behavior. If you like the response of getting a reward from me you will probably continue that behavior. But I really talk about responses a lot. I'll have a behavioral response to what you are presenting me with.

Josh: What's frustrating is when you do the thing over and over again thinking that you're doing the thing that you're supposed to be doing and you're not getting the response that you want, we reaction. That's one of the tougher things. And in trying to teach people that, you may not get the answer that you want But your behavior is still the effect of sphere of control, radical acceptance and you're only responsible for your behavior. That's it.

Keith: Say like, I'm thinking about this with parenting. Uh, like the behavioral responses to your child's behavior. They don't always result in your hopeful outcome the first time you do it. And so like it's like a pattern of behavior in relationship you have to remember over and over again and it's not something that just is a one time thing and all the, everything works out.

Josh: I just had that discussion with my 12 year old who's a wrestler and who beats himself up by saying he can't all the time. And then we were having a discussion on the way home. I was like, well, you know, you've got to work on not saying I can't. And then he was like, well yeah, I just need to change my mind to positive. And I go, Oh no son, it doesn't work like that. It takes work to change. I can't into, I can sure. It's not just a switch of your brain that you're just going to figure it. It's stopping yourself when you say I can't to, Oh, I'm saying I can't to, I gotta do things differently.

Renee: Cause if it were that easy I'd be perfect. I can flip that switch and make the best decision every single time.

Josh: So we're, we're so, it's teaching those skills and those behaviors to do things differently

Keith: and some of that's mindfulness again, right? I mean like so maybe not in the moment of that, but like after the fact, considering why did I start saying "I can't" and how can I say, how can I change that?

Renee: Yeah. What, what does it make me feel like? What was I feeling before? After, during. I didn't say his name. Shout out Dr. P. If you are out there anywhere in this happens to come across your ear buds, thank you sir.

Kate: I think the cool thing too that I'm picking up on is I am just feeling the love and excitement and passion. I'm seeing it and I'm hearing it when you talk about his work and how much of an impact. So that for me is cool to see, cause I've obviously I've never met him and I'm like, I need to meet this guy. He sounds incredible cause I can just again see and hear it coming through. And so that's pretty cool to, to see.

Renee: He's tangible for me. He was tangible for me. So sometimes it's hard for me, with all due respect to the Brené Browns, the Marsha Linehans, I haven't been, those haven't been tangible to me. I'm sure that if they were, and so I am much more of that relater. So relater is in my top five of the Clifton strengths and that's my, um, connected like to have the small social groups where we really know a lot about one another. And so that when I was in a course with this professor for over a year of my life. Right. Learning from him directly. And that was powerful in the formation of who I am, not just as a therapist, but as, as a person.

Kate: And I think that's so cool when you can connect with people in that way. I don't know. So Dr. Kelly McGonigal from Harvard University, she's a health psychologist and she wrote the book "The Willpower Instinct" and "How to Make Stress your Friend" and all these great books. And I decided to reach out to her one day and see if I could use her work with a group of students, um, at my former place of employment. And she was the nicest person who at no point, even though she, I don't know, I'm making an assumption. I'm sure she makes bookoo bucks just with all of her book sales and all of that. And she said, you know, follow the material the way it was written, obviously just for fidelity. But if you're reaching students use it. There is no cost to us to use it for the university. No, she just said, I want people to be impacted by this and I'm honored that this is something you're interested in. Absolutely do with it as you need. Just align with it again because you wanna make sure you're doing the best effective work with the students. And I know I had that same experience with Dr. Ilardi at KU who was one of my professors and he wrote "The Depression Cure" book. And again, when you hear these people and you can connect with them and now it's incredible.

Keith: Sometimes the relationships it, I mean it, they're having the added piece of the relationships is actually sometimes more important than the actual content of whatever is being taught or thought. Like when you get to see kind of those things together, like kind of the integrity between what the person is saying and who they are externally.

Kate: So go to class, go to class, meet your professors it's important.

Renee: Choose awesome professors. Who are engaging. Trust me, I have lots of other stories.

All: And before we get to those stories, thank you for joining us for another episode. I'm Keith Kate. I'm Josh. I'm Renee. And it's okay if you're not okay.